18th-Century Lovers Exchanged Portraits of Their Eyes

The miniature paintings celebrated and commemorated love at a time when public expressions of affection were uncouth.
The Decameron by John William Waterhouse

Boccaccio’s Medicine

In the Decameron of Boccaccio, friends tell one another stories of love to while away the hours of quarantine.
A portrait of Emily Dickinson in front of an evolutionary illustration

How Emily Dickinson Wrestled with Darwinism

The current vogue for the Amherst poet needs to give credit to the way she readily examined her childhood ideas about fixed and immutable truth.
Jeanne Cagney in Quicksand

How Film Noir Tried to Scare Women out of Working

In the period immediately following World War II, the femme fatale embodied a host of male anxieties about gender roles.
Doris Day in Calamity Jane

Doris Day Changed Us Forever

What did women coming of age in the 1950s think of Doris Day in Calamity Jane? Does her filmography have the same meaning now?
Two face masks in front of some text about the COVID-19 virus

When Language Goes Viral

How do innocuous words become insidious in the face of a public health emergency?
Inside the Rothko Chapel

How the Rothko Chapel Creates Spiritual Space

Fourteen colossal black paintings by the modern artist Mark Rothko are installed in an octagonal room in Texas. Visitors say the chapel brings them peace.
A Reading from Homer by Lawrence Alma Tadema, 1885

How Do We Know That Epic Poems Were Recited from Memory?

Scholars once doubted that pre-literate peoples could ever have composed and recited poems as long as the Odyssey. Milman Parry changed that.
Frank Sinatra, Kim Charney, Nancy Gates & Sterling Hayden in Suddenly, 1954

The Sinatra Movie Some Blamed for JFK’s Death

In the 1950s, Frank Sinatra starred in Suddenly, a movie that happens to depict a plot against the President.

Tuskegee University’s Hidden Audio Collections

The archives of the historically black Tuskegee University recently released recordings from 1957 to 1971, with a number by powerful civil rights leaders.